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Habits of Mind
Unit 4





Read Brent Cunningham's oft-quoted piece, "Re-thinking Objectivity," in its entirety at The Columbia Journalism Review website.


For a slightly different take on the issue of objectivity in journalism, see John Judis' piece in The New Republic. 


Don't let "objectivity" replace thorough reporting, says this essay from the American Press Institute:  Using a "neutral voice, without a discipline of verification, creates a veneer covering something hollow."


Journalism is now more about providing context and interpreting information than it is about delivering "just the facts," says the Nieman Journalism Lab's Jonathan Stray.  "The messy complexity of providing real narratives in a real world is much less authoritative ground" than providing "objective facts," he says.





Read more about what the Associated Press is and who owns it.






The Hutchins Commission

Questions about whether journalists can be truly objective—and how their work is affected when they try to be—are not new.  The Commission on Freedom of the Press, also known at the Hutchins Commission, took an in-depth look at those issues in 1947. You can read the full report online for free.

Objectivity Works Fine as Long as Everyone Tells the Truth


Journalists too often practice "he said, she said" reporting—when they simply quote contradictory statements by different sources and leave audiences to decide what's true. Tom Patterson, a professor of media and politics, says this kind of reporting is a relic of the attempt to be objective, and it works fine as long as everyone is trying to be truthful. But when they aren't, "the journalist becomes complicit in the deception."  You can read the accompanying article at the Journalist's Resource.

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